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    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011
    Masochist that I am, I felt the need to restart the hardest thread to keep going... again! Really, though, I'm getting really bad about eating at home again (and have stalled out on my weight-loss endeavors; 20 lbs yay! But i just wanna go back to eating crap now...)
    In the process of losing weight, I have made myself like eggs. In fact, Dunkin Donuts has the "wake-up wrap" that is perfect. Thick fluffy wrap, egg and cheese. But it's tiny. And 5 of those Weight Watchers Points. So I made my own:
    Low carb burrito size tortilla, that American cheese made w/ 2% milk, scrambled egg w/ thinly sliced baby spinach. Twice as big, for the same amount of WW Points.

    So, what are you all cooking? Or wanting to cook? Or getting someone else to cook?
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011 edited
    My first bento lunch!

    Cinnamon Quinoa - Cooked the classic way, except boiled with soy milk rather than water. When it was all done I just mixed in some cinnamon and a bit of sugar. It turned out okay. Actually ended up going really well with the...

    Pineapple - yum!

    Broccoli - Also yum!

    Ham - Brought back from a meeting and my god was it wonderful. I will miss that ham.

    Egg Tamagoyaki (Japanese Omelette) - I got the recipe for it from and it was surprisingly easy. Egg, soy sauce, water, sugar, mix, put on pan, mix with fork, fold when half done, fold more and more and yer done! This went INCREDIBLY well with the ham.

    Can't wait to figure out monday's!
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011
    We started using this CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) program from a nearby farm. We get a big box of veg and six Deinonychus-sized eggs for what breaks down to about $15 per week. We get more green into our diet, save some money, and we come up with new recipes.
  1.  (9814.4)
    yesterday i slow cooked a chunk of a pig in red wine with garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, onion and various spices for about 11 hours.

    delicious. today i will use some of it for a sandwich that i am sure will put a smile on my face.

    also, we recently got a heavy duty cast iron grill pan and OH MY GOD I AM IN LOVE WITH IT. its great, it lets you get a nice char on stuff without it getting tough at all. liz made tacos the other night and...they were better than any i have ever made. which makes me happy because they were delicious, but sad because that was one area where i was the Taco King.

    another recent experiment was homemade (vegan) refried beans spread lightly between two small corn tortillas with some good local cheese, cilantro and onion then tossed on the grill pan. they made for some crispy lil salsa scoops mmmm

    its hitting berry season in the US, and i couldnt be happier. i love fruit. NOW BRING ON THE DAMN CHERRIES
  2.  (9814.5)
    damn joe, gonna have to try your salsa scoop deal. fuck. hungry now.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011
    I have conquered gnocchi. The method of getting the potatoes to the right degree of moisture is you bake them, rather than boil them. I tried boiling and they had way too much water in them, despite using older, more dried out potatoes. Baking does the trick easily.

    Five russet potatoes and one Yukon gold, washed, punctured and put on a baking sheet covered in tinfoil. Bake until you can push a long skewer through them easily and then take them out. While they are still warm, strip the skin off of them (and do your best not to burn your fingers off), then feed the flesh of the potato through a ricer or food mill (I suppose you could use a food processor but you need this reduced to the finest consistency that you can get).

    Get a large flat surface and cover it with flour. Once you've milled/riced/reduced the potatoes to the consistency of PlayDough, spread them out on the floured surface and then mix one egg into the large lump of potato. Using a bench scraper, cut flour into the large lump of dough until the dough holds a shape without being too sticky.

    Cut the lump into quarters and then roll it into a long, half inch wide strand of dough (think PlayDough snakes) and then cut this into half-inch sections with your bench scraper. Form them however you like, I made little American football-shaped lumps, my wife used a fork to put ridges in hers, and arrange on a baking sheet covered in wax paper so they don't stick to the surface you're working on. At this point I'd suggest putting them in a freezer for 5-10 minutes while you get a pot of water boiling although you don't have to do this step I think; we just wanted to make sure they maintained their shape. Once the water is at a roiling boil drop your shaped gnocchi into the water, you will know they are done cooking when they float to the surface.

    We took our boiled gnocchi and made baked zitti out of it with a gorgonzola and cream sauce. It was divine.
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011
    I have picked nettles the last days, itchy itchy, stocked up the fridge.
    Made a herb-butter today with nettles, thyme, parsley and some lemon to go on a coal grilled entrecĂ´te not bad at all served with a risotto and a couple of beers.
    • CommentAuthorbuhbuhcuh
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011
    @Brittanica, good luck with the WW stuff, I managed to lose ~50 lbs that way - still learning to cook for myself though.

    Just did a nice Chorizo and Cauliflower saute (onions, mushrooms in there as well) over a Spanish Tortilla (basically a big egg and potato pancake). Over the last year I've become a huge fan of saute'd cauliflower - it can take the place of a lot of starches and still turn out delicious as it soaks up flavor nicely.

    I also hit a new personal best for chili, in which I didn't do anything special, just didn't bother to measure anything, and threw in some fresh roasted anaheim peppers and oregano. (my usual base is lean meat, onion, beans, a big can o diced tomato, healthy scoop o chili powder, some ground cumin, pinch ground cayenne, and salt)
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011
    @Renthing - I haven't quite gotten brave enough for gnocchi, yet. That kinda makes me want to try it, though!
    • CommentAuthorgjmiller
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011
    Fettuccine with vegetables

    Fettuccine with vegetables (radishes, shiitake, broccoli and red pepper)
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2011

    Got the recipe off of serious eats. It takes a while, but worth it.
  3.  (9814.12)
    @Draug: It kind of blows my mind that nettles can be used to make food.

    I'm basically living on pizza, pasta, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I'm at home, now.

    Last thursday I made strawberry jam for the first time since I moved:

    Because why should I pay seven bucks for a jar of Smucker's when I can pay ten for a half flat of organic strawberries at the farmer's market and boil it down into two jars worth of much better tasting jam? (I'm going to be REALLY ANGRY if I can't find a decent farmer's market once I move to Phoenix...)

    Trader Joe's Garlic and Herb Pizza dough, tomato sauce, pine nuts sprinkled on sauce, cheese on top. Baked on pizza stone.
    My scientifically narrowed down pizza stone baking method:
    1. Take the dough out of the bag, sprinkle it with flour, ball it up and drop it in a lightly flowered bowl.
    2. Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees (F) with the pizza stone inside.
    3. Roll out the dough and make the pizza however you want once the oven is heated.
    4. Slide the pizza onto the stone.
    5. Reduce the oven's heat to 450. Let cook for 10 minutes or so.

    Took me a while to figure that out. When I first got the pizza stone I was always burning the cheese, and still had an undercooked crust, but then I figured if the pizza stone was actually hotter than the oven, then the crust would bake faster and the cheese wouldn't burn.

    [edit]Now with fixed images
  4.  (9814.13)
    @RenThing: A quartered paper towel works very well as a disposable hotpad for skinning your potatoes post-boiling.

    Dish of the week was Pork Soft Tacos. A bit over a pound of sirloin-cut pork (almost no fat, and on sale at the local market) simmered in Kitchen Basics vegetable stock with onion, garlic, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, parsley and turmeric. (Overdid it slightly on the turmeric, so it came out looking a bit curry-ish, but still tasty.) Dumped into warmed whole-wheat tortillas with herbed spring mix, grated Beecher's "Marco Polo" (peppered white cheddar) cheese, Trader Joe's Peach Salsa and a bit of sour cream.

    Off to demolish the leftovers as we speak.
  5.  (9814.14)

    what part of phoenix are you moving to? i live downtown and theres a great twice weekly one right in the middle of the city, along with a few satellite ones in other parts of town/suburbs

    although they are kinda useless in the summers as vendors bail out since foot traffic in 110 degrees drops waaay down. also, the local farms dont get a whoel lot of local berries. FROWNZ. tons of citrus, peppers, greens,tomatoes, root veggies and homemade stuff. theres a couple food trucks that are delicious, and the Tamale people at the downtown market have the best, fattest tamales i have ever had!

    oh and the market itself is attached to Phoenix Public Market who have local stuff all week, as well as a deli/wine bar/snacks. its a pretty great place, if a bit small.
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2011 edited
    Experiment of the week:

    My wife and kid are... pickydiscerning eaters, so I'm always trying to come up with variations on basic dishes to keep myself from going mad from boredom cooking the same stuff over again. Lately I've been trying to come up with variations on "sliced meat and rice." I had formerly been going through a run of doing this South American style - meat simmered in chopped tomatoes, garlic, onions and a ton of cumin. This week I decided to try something vaguely Japanese.

    I had bought some small top blade steaks, which were *not* as it turned out, the "flatiron" cut I had thought - these had the strip of connective tissue right through the middle. These were small steaks, no more than .25" thick and about a quarter pound each.

    "Great," I think, "all the recipes I'm looking at for these things call for one to two hours of braising, and these aren't even thawed completely." I was starving, and just didn't want to spent more than an hour til I could eat.

    Here's what I wound up doing to make a sort of bastard Japanese rice bowl dish:

    0. Immediately turned on the oven to 450F, with the convection fan on.
    1. Performed the final thaw/marinade in the microwave, with some soy sauce, garlic, salt, sugar and ginger, covered with paper towels in a shallow dish.
    2. Let rest after thawing for another 20 minutes while the oven finished heating up.
    3. Wrapped the steaks in plastic and pounded them for a while with the back of my chef's knife, not so much to get them flat as to break up the connective tissue in the middle and get more of the marinade in there.
    4. Prepared the rice to microwave in a silicone tagine - 1c organic rice to 2 of water, pinch of salt, pinch of ginger.
    5. Started the rice on high for 5min while heating up a large dry steel pan (*not* nonstick) on a high flame.
    6. Seared off the steaks for 30 seconds on each side, reserving the marinade liquid.
    7. After the rice was done for 5 min on high, set the microwave for 50% power and put it back in for another 15 min, tightly covered still.
    8. Popped the steaks into the oven in the pan.
    9. While those were finishing, assembled some more soy, beef broth, sugar, salt, ginger, garlic, red onions, scallions, and wished I had some broccoli.
    10. Turned the steaks after 4 minutes.
    11. Pulled the steak out after another 4 to rest and let the pan cool.
    12. Deglazed the pan with some beef stock, making a bastard pan sauce, stirred in the veg and the reserved marinade and let it simmer.
    13. Sliced the steaks thinly across the grain into fajita-like strips while that simmered.
    14. Ding, rice is done.
    15. Added beef strips back into sauce and let it all get to know each other for a while.
    16. Spooned rice into bowls, fanned beef strips over the top, sauce over that.

    It was remarkably good. The *flavor* that got packed into those top blades, and the fatty pop of the connective tissue, was just right. They were remarkably tender for a total of perhaps 15 minutes total cook time. It would have completely *killed* if I would have had some broccoli or peapods to go with it, or some rice wine and mirin, but overall I was remarkably pleased with myself.

    The total cost of the dish, with leftovers for lunch, was also only about $10.

    - Marinate while you thaw if you don't have time.
    - Microwaved rice is awesome and quick.
    - A quickly cooked tough cut of meat can be nearly as tender as a long, slow braised one. Just don't overcook!
    - Searing and then finishing in the over frees up your stove and lets you cook your steak with no fuss
    - Life is easier if you keep the same basic ingredients (beef, rice) and use different sauces and techniques to keep things interesting.
  6.  (9814.16)
    oh, and its really basic, but i had never done it before this week: plain, whole greek yogurt in a strainer for a few hours comes out tasting remarkably like sour cream and is healthier. yum.
  7.  (9814.17)
    @joe: I'm aiming for a place downtown, right next to the ASU campus, but I haven't been out yet to look. Thanks for the heads up on the farmer's markets!
  8.  (9814.18)
    oh thats very close then. its a great area, the train is right there.
  9.  (9814.19)
    I love food.

    cheese of many lands, figs, raspberries, prosciutto

    I also love to cook, but I don't take pics that often. I've recently gone on a big kick lately of trying different things. My dad's from Louisiana, so I grew up with gumbo -- I finally got around to trying my hand at making roux from scratch.

    It took me three tries to get it dark enough without burning. But I now have a system so it will be easier.

    We (I) roast a lot of chickens. We used to occasionally pick up a $6 rotisserie chicken at the store as a quick meal. Then we found this really easy recipe for doing it yourself, and now once a week we roast our own free-range grain-fed chicken for $2 more than the cost of a store-bought rotisserie. The skin is tougher, but the meat is even better.

    Even more recently, I've taken to making my own chicken stock with the scraps and bones, because why the hell not? You put it on, go about your day, and then you have a quart or two of chicken stock for literally no extra cost. Just place all the bones, cartilage, and scrap pieces (no livers), plus the onion you stuffed the chicken with originally and a couple quartered garlic cloves, into a pot with 3-4 quarts water, bring to a boil, and then let it simmer down halfway. Strain and store. Tada. Plus when you make gumbo, chicken stock trumps water any day of the week.

    This morning I took a page from Jamie Oliver and made french toast-style crumpets--beat your eggs, add a little milk and a dash of vanilla, soak and brown. The crumpets soak up the mix so well and you're left with chewy outside and succulent, gooshy inside. I highly recommend it.

    I really love to cook.
    • CommentTimeMay 5th 2011
    Yesterday I cooked for the first time in ages, seems I can't be arsed to cook for just myself. Boo.

    Here's what I used:

    - about a pound of pork ribs (with a nice layer of fat)
    - root veggies (carrots and swede mostly)
    - red onions
    - apple (granny)

    Chop up the veggies and lay them on the bottom of an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with sea salt. Make some cuts in the fat, salt the pork and slap it on top of them there vegetables, meat side up. Then slather the poor beast with a mixture of:

    - dijon mustard
    - honey
    - a splash of vinegar (I used balsamic, but I bet apple cider vinegar would be AWESOME)
    - some soy sauce (careful with this)
    - sage

    Then you pour a can of beer into the dish. I used a can of non-alcoholic lager. Do not do this. Use a proper beer. My gut tells me a weissbier would definitely do the trick nicely.

    Into the oven it goes! Use a lowish heat (125-150C / 255-300F or so, at your discretion) and just let it be. After a half hour, observe the results, slather more glaze on the pork and toss the veggies around a bit. Back into the oven. After another half hour, take the dish out of the oven, turn the pork over, fat side up, and glaze. Another half an hour in the oven, and reglaze. Aaand back in.

    It's done when the meat is clearly withdrawing off the bones and the glaze looks nicely browned and sticky.

    Let the meat rest for a bit before digging in. I just had a taste last night and then I left it to rest overnight in the juices, and will heat it up tonight with some hasselback potatoes, at which point: pictures will be taken.

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